Product Safety for Potters

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Product Safety for Potters




Approx. €116 / 123 US$

What is the course about?

This course tells you all you need to know to make work that is safe for the user. This covers glaze stability and food safety, pots for the kitchen, and all the other aspects of producing good, safe, functional work. For those who make their own glazes, it doesn’t go into the glaze chemistry, which is now in a separate course.

Note that this course does not go into glaze chemistry in detail. If you make up your own glazes and want in-depth coverage of the chemistry, you may want to follow this course up with the Food Safe and Stable Glazes course (see bottom of page).

What are the Dates?

Select your start date from the list above.

The course is run over six weekly sessions
19:00 – 20:30 UK time / 20:00 – 21:30 CET / 2 p.m. – 3.30 p.m. EDT
Also recorded and put onto the course web page so you can view them at other times

A discussion session will be held at the end of the course, to discuss any of the course material and any questions or issues you may have with your making. This will be scheduled at a time to best suit all attendees, especially those who cannot attend the live sessions.

If you can’t wait until the next run of the course, choose Recording instead of a start date. You get access to all the course material of the last run of the course, and 10 weeks in which to read and view the course material. You’re also free to contact me with any questions you may have during the course.

What will we cover?

All aspects of product safety are covered, giving you the underlying theory, the means to test pieces, how to improve the design, and the relevant standards and legislation.

A considerable proportion of the course covers making durable glazes, crazing, leaching and food safety. Attention is also given to all the items that may be used on the table or in the kitchen. Also producing pieces that are frost proof. And general considerations such as stability and waterproofness.

What will I achieve?

By the end of this course you should be able to…

  • Understand glaze stability and how to test it
  • Understand glaze leaching in both alkaline (dishwasher) and acidic (food) environments
  • Understand what is meant by “food safe”, which materials in glazes are potentially toxic, and you can assess commercial glazes
  • Understand the effects of thermal stresses on clay and glazes, and how to design to minimise them
  • Understand the requirements to make pieces safe for the dishwasher, oven, microwave and freezer, and methods of testing their behaviour
  • Understand the mechanisms of frost damage to pots, and the design and material considerations in making frost proof pieces
  • Understand the level of waterproofness needed by different pieces, and how to test it
  • Assess whether a piece is sufficiently stable for its purpose
  • Understanding the issues in making electric lamps both safe and compliant with the regulations as easily as possible
  • Design candlesticks and other pieces with an open flame
  • Understand the legislation and standards covering product safety and testing (UK, EU and USA)

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?


How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course is primarily run through the weekly online sessions, which are a live lecture where you can also ask questions or get a discussion going. These are recorded and put on the course web page for those who cannot make the course times due to time zones or other commitments, or for those who want to replay them.

Additional material that you may wish to explore is on the course website. This will help you go deeper into the subject matter, should you wish to do so.

There will be an end of course discussion session, where we can discuss any of the course material or any more general questions you may have. Thise will be scheduled to best suit everyone, especially those unable to attend the live sessions.

There will be suggestions for you to test some of your pieces between sessions.

For those with an imperfect knowledge of English, all session recordings now have subtitles in the languages of all attendees. This uses computer translation, so isn’t guaranteed to be perfect, but should help you in following the sessions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No advance preparation is needed.

You may want to test some of your work (which will probably get damaged in the process).
This mostly uses standard studio and kitchen equipment, though the following are useful if available:

  • A pressure cooker
  • Methylene blue or a similar dark stain (5ml is plenty)
  • pH paper or a pH meter
  • 50g of soda ash
  • A digital probe thermometer reading from -20° to 250°C, e.g. a meat thermometer

What do I get?

  • Eight live lectures with questions and discussions, lasting about 90 minutes each week
  • Recordings of all lectures for later viewing during the course, with subtitles in all attendees’ languages
  • Additional optional online course material, giving background info and greater depth
  • A discussion session
  • Downloadable PDFs of all presentations
  • Premium level access to the Tech part of my web site, containing much more information, references etc.
  • Course completion certificate

Note that the forum, lecture recordings and premium level site access are included at no cost until 4 weeks after the end of the course. After that, continued access is available for the cost of buying me a coffee every month (US$3 a month).

Feedback from students

Feedback is from the previous version of the course, which included a considerble amount of glaze chemistry geared to those mixing up their own glazes.

I found the course both informative and enjoyable. Tim has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and a natural ability to present a technical subject in a way that makes it accessible to non-specialist. Recommended!
Edinburgh, UK 

I am happy to recommend Tim’s online webinar on Product Safety as a great way to improve the quality of your pots. He covers all the aspects of making from design to clay bodies, glaze materials and firing schedules. Coming from an engineering and design background his approach is quite different to that of the average art college. Whether or not you have a scientific background, testing and experimenting will become a natural part of your designing and making. Ideal for potters producing functional pots ranging from domestic ware to garden pots, who aim to improve their product.
St Albans, UK

Great couse, I’ve learned a lot thanks to Tim. His course is technical, complete and simple. I do recommend it.
Paris, France

Thank you Tim for your course. Good structure of each lesson, well prepared, I like the way you explain. You did a huge work. You give all your knowledge on the subject but without unusefull controversy. I recommend if someones want to have a large point of vue on product safety. Sorry for my approximative english.
Vannes, France

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